Tony Martin’s three-month suspension to begin with immediate effect

High Court rejects trainer’s application for a judicial review of sanction

The High Court has rejected trainer Tony Martin’s application for a judicial review of the three-month license suspension imposed on him by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.

The IHRB confirmed today the suspension begins immediately and horses entered for upcoming races by Martin will be withdrawn by order of the stewards. They include Presenting Max who has been taken out of a race at Perth in Scotland this afternoon.

Martin’s suspension had been due to start yesterday, only for the Co Meath trainer to lodge his application on Tuesday afternoon. A stay on the suspension allowed him run two horses at Tipperary yesterday. Both were unplaced.

The outcome of that process was revealed this morning and an IHRB spokesman commented: “Mr Martin’s application was heard by Justice Mulcahy on Tuesday and on Thursday morning he delivered the decision. Mr Martin’s application was refused on all grounds.


“Hence, Mr Martin’s suspension commences today and all horses declared by Mr Martin have been withdrawn by order of the stewards.”

The multiple-Cheltenham Festival winner was handed the suspension in March after the IHRB successfully appealed against the leniency of an original sanction handed to Martin for breaching anti-doping rules in 2023.

At an original IHRB referrals panel hearing in December, Martin was fined a total of €11,000 and given a six-month licence suspension that was suspended for two years on the back of his horse, Firstman, failing a drugs test after winning at Dundalk in January of 2023.

Firstman won a handicap as a 13-8 favourite only to subsequently test positive for lidocaine, a local anaesthetic used to block pain that is a prohibited substance on race day. Firstman was the third Martin-trained winner in four years to fail a test.

Firstman had been declared for the last race at Leopardstown on Friday evening but will be taken out by the stewards.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column